Saturday, 30 January 2010


I got through Thursday nights intervals without duress but last night I succumbed to the offer of a curry over a planned hours tramp across the town. Poor attitude, I know. As I struggled afterwards in the garden to capture the nightscape with what the camera shop described as a 'mid range' camera I thought it was the sort of evening that all sorts of shenanigans could be going on in a parallel universe. An eery halo around a high moon and a brittle cold wind searching out all those draughty little places around the house. Crank the thermostat up.

This morning brought a couple of inches of fresh snow. Normally I would have strapped on the Salomon's and take the dog for an Artic adventure in the woods. This month, though, I'll mostly being doing sensible training. Just short of 50 this week and a definite spring in the bounce it's a steady recovery. Giving the local cross country a miss and regretably also skipping the re-arranged Kielder fell race tomorrow it looks like a trip to the gym.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Cross trainer

Nice to be back on the road again and even nicer to be able to see it. I managed 12 miles on Sunday and 20 miles so far this week with another 6 or 7 tonight. I fancy some longer events this year so have had a quick look at the Spen 20, the Haweswater half and the Balloch-Clydebank half in March. This will require some ramping up of the miles in February & into March. I should be able to work in with the lads doing London.

Its been a long time since I put a foot inside the door at the gym, but returned this week for an easy session spent mostly re-acquainting myself with the various machines, the purveyors of pain. I've heard the phrase muscle memory before but there's no evidence of it so far. The sinews seem to have a bad case of amnesia. It'll be a good while before I feature on Extreme sports-lifting! Its a nice change though and even 20 minutes on the treadmill at the end was fine. A question I've thought about is would you go flying off if someone turned the power off?

Friday, 15 January 2010


For no obvious reason I've decided to switch ‘e’s with ‘a’s tonight and tamper with tha taxt to giva tha blog oontry a bit of spica. Abit like the p.c. officer Crabtree in allo allo.
Against eell adds I'va clockad up 15 milos this wark. My running styla has changad to accommodata tha mincing ovar-pronating baby stap tip-toa tachniqua that I'va adoptad to ansura strass is minimisad on tha affactad right ankloo. If I don't watch it ee'll ba running round in small circlas shirtly.
I got out jest in tima this aftarnoon for 6 milos. Tha stata of tha roads ara a worry with snow pilad high and pitholes fillad with watar. If soma cars got any naarar I'd ba in tha passangar saat fingaring my way through thair CD collaction -but tha pavamants ara aqually dangarous with ica and sloobs that rock mora than aarosmith. Thara’ll ba no fell raining for tha forasaaabla futura and cross cintry is out for a faw waaks. Lika 'Dunn Running' I might taka mysal down tha gym tomorrow or go for a jag on tha baach. No dangar thara. Aye, boradom is a tarribla thang... what a daft carry on!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Pilates: Look into my eyes..

The rapid thaw that set in yesterday was in some way symbolical. It heralded the start of the 2010 running year for me. Fair enough that after messing around most of the day I tentatively stuck my head out of the front door and clocked up the 2 slowest miles I've ever ran. It was barely a jog but the ankle complained only once at a corner. However, its not quite there yet but there's light at the end of the tunnel (or is that light a train coming the other way!)
Today as the demise of the snow continued I took up an invitation to a pilates class. The room for this is downstairs and there's a gym upstairs. It was interesting as I lay dry and warm on a mat moving various limbs in a tai-chi manner and only marginally slower than in my earlier run.
There was much instruction on breathing (which I consider myself an expert on having done it since I was a child). Its all about core work apparently. There was a hypnotic quality about the whole thing and I must admit it was different but quite enjoyable.
The instructor kept us posted on what to do and kept reminding the class that this was 'hard work'. I could only lie there looking at the panelled ceiling enviously listening to someone upstairs banging out 20 minutes on a treadmill and thinking 'hard work, hard work?-20 miles in the moors, a Monday night session or a 35 minute 10k; now that's hard work'. Maybe I need to get more in touch with my inner self. Or maybe I should just reach for the ibruprofen and get the trainers on.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Snow Madness

I'm taking a minute every day to ensure there's bird food out for those shivering little critters. Birdwatching is, however, meagre recompense for missing out on the new year miles. I'd be out there in dat snow like a shot if the ankle would get itself sorted out.

So what's there to do round the house for a bit of cross training in this climate? A range of 'shovel-sports' or 'digthedriveout'. The objective in 'dig' as we call it is to dig until you find something other than the white stuff and then time yourself on exposing a 1 metre square. Different rules apply on north facing or chalk slopes, in highland regions and in the vicinity of pitches with under-soil heating. If entering the team competition, a secondary objective is to ensure that the pile of snow and ice shifted is larger than next doors pile. Watch out for tampering and be aware of the competition trying to add polystyrene sheets to artificially 'bump up' their pile. Marks should be deducted accordingly. Shorter sprint events include 'exposing the path' or 'finding the pond', while those endurance athletes may elect to go for the traditional 'dig out the drive'; Ultra athletes may enter for 'excavate out the estate or farm' (although size does matter here). Don't say you aren't spoilt for choice!!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

A ginger nut too far

I've just witnessed the fastest race this year; that's the race to enter the Carnethy 5 in Mid-February. I suppose the Brass Monkey field does fill up more quickly, but 550 entries in just over 4 hours is all just a bit of a blur. As the online entry's topped 520 I considered entering. I pondered for a bit then traipsed off to make a pot of tea and in the time it took for my hand to furtively wander into the biscuit jar for a ginger nut, that moment was gone.

As a matter of interest the Liveredge Half is also full that weekend and there's not a great deal more on other than a couple of fell and charity runs. It seems for race organisers that this weekend would be ideal to slot in one of those cancelled Christmas races. That does assume that the artic spell we're having moves on.

We had more snow this morning and there was an awkward moment last night when the snowman tried to creep in beside the dog, with his black eyes and nose in hand, chattering and mumbling something about it being too snowy. His luck was out as it happens.

Needless to say there's no running going on in this quarter; there, I've said it even though it was a needless thing to say.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

The Clutch of the Ice Queen

If you had to choose to have an enforced break from running then I guess this last week is the one you'd choose. I've not seen so much snow in 25 years in these 'ere parts. I've just finished digging the house out. Next, me and some of the more adventurous neighbours are planning to find and extricate some of the less adventurous neighbours and then the local shop from the clutches of the ice queen. Mr Tumnus is well down the list.

After Guisborough Woods my ankle came up like something a snooker pro would knock around the green baize. One week on its much better but there's still a minor hobble factor present (no, not hobbit factor; my feet aren't that hairy; or are they!). The Hobbit factor; a talent show for unusually diminutive people with leathery feet. No, probably wouldn't work.

I must admit my compromised lateral and bifurcate ligaments didn't complain too much when I treated them to a trip to one of the Shires hostelries over New Year and very convivial it was too (It's an old Scottish and hobbit remedy for sprained ankles, see).

It could be another week before I can attempt a run. It'll probably take that time for the snow to disappear from Middle Earth in any case. In the meantime and as my old Latin teacher used to say 'per aspera ad astra'. No, I didn't know what she was talking about either!

Friday, 1 January 2010

Snow? What Snow...

Huge snow fall early this morning. Never mind the running gear, where's the sledge. Its still coming! Happy New Year.